Billie Eilish Shuts Down Queerbaiting Claims

Unconventional pop sensation Billie Eilish has been accused in the past of queerbaiting. She recently defied these claims and put her critics in their place. 

Here’s what happened and what Eilish has to say about it. 

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Billie Eilish’s social media post sparked accusations of queerbaiting

On June 2, Eilish dropped the music video for her song “Lost Cause.” The track was a single from her sophomore album Happier Than Ever, which came out on July 30.

In the video, Eilish and a group of girlfriends dance around at a slumber party, mouthing the words to her song. 

After releasing the video, Eilish posted a photo on Instagram from behind the scenes. The photo pictures Eilish surrounded by her female companions. The “Ocean Eyes” singer captioned it, “i love girls.”

Her photo and caption sparked a wave of backlash from critics. They said that the 19-year-old singer was queerbaiting her fans. Compounding the issue was the fact that June, the month when Eilish posted the attention-grabbing photo and caption, is Pride Month.

For those who may not know, “queerbaiting” refers to when “a celebrity or a public figure capitalizes on the suspicion that they may be romantically involved with another same-sex person for the sake of publicity, promotion or a capitalistic gain,” according to Rolling Stone. Media makers use queerbaiting as a marketing ploy to “play with” the LGBTQ community’s “lack of representation and desires.”

Eilish did not respond to the accusations of queerbaiting at the time, nor did she remove the controversial photo and caption. 

This wasn’t the first time Eilish has been accused of queerbaiting. Her first full-length album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? features the track “Wish You Were Gay.”

The title seems to imply that the singer was facing rejection from a heterosexual woman, but the lyrics reveal that the song is really about wanting a heterosexual man to spare her feelings of rejection by being homosexual. 

Billie Eilish performs on stage wearing pigtails, shorts, and an oversized T-shirt.
Billie Eilish | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The “Bad Guy” singer hit back in a recent interview

In a September interview with Elle, Eilish got candid about many topics, including her sexuality. But instead of telling fans everything they want to know about her personal life, she decided to make a statement about her privacy.

Eilish was asked about the Internet scrutiny of her personal life, including the details of her fashion choices to whom she dates. 

“Or my sexuality!” Eilish added. “Like, oh yeah, that’s everyone else’s business, right? No. Where’s that energy with men?”

This comment seemed directed at the claims of queerbaiting Eilish dealt with over the summer from the “Lost Cause” Instagram photo. But instead of giving the public a direct answer about her sexuality (which might have exonerated her from the accusations), the “Ocean Eyes” singer decided to remain silent about her sexual preferences and keep her personal life private.

Billie Eilish smiles for the camera at an event.
Billie Eilish | Samir Hussein/WireImage

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Billie Eilish implied that questioning her sexuality is an invasion of privacy

The pop star did not answer to the claims of queerbaiting or publicly declare her sexuality. Instead, Eilish implied that demanding to know her sexuality is an invasion of her privacy. Like many who step into the spotlight at a young age, she also grapples with the relentless criticism of her every move by strangers online. 

“I just wanted to make a song once, and then I kept making songs. I never said, ‘Hey, pay attention to my life.’ All my friends know I don’t wanna see any of [the negative chatter]. When people send me something mean, it hurts my soul.”

The “Happier Than Ever” singer made other comments indicating that she might not have everything about herself figured out yet. “You’re not even supposed to really know who you are until you’re at least my age or older,” she remarked.